So today marks the end of mental Health week and so I thought we would finish with a short blog.
Mental health is so important and even more prevalent at the moment and yet a lot of us continue to brush our feelings under the carpet, unable to confide in each other about we how we really feel.
Mental Health comes in many forms but for us it manifested as Panic Attacks, and Anxiety brought on by my pregnancy of Charlie, Harry and George and the subsequent complete lack of control we experienced from day 1 (See the blog “Our Story” to read about this in more depth!)
Now I am a firm believer that Mental health should be spoken about more freely and consider myself an open book in this regard and will happily speak about Harry and our story. For Dan however this has and still is more of a struggle. A year after Harry died, we took the decision to try some counselling to help us both to come to terms with what happened, and thankfully this helped us greatly. I am in no way ashamed that we had this and it made us stronger both as a couple and as individuals in how we dealt with our grief.
It is well known that people will grieve differently and in their own way. And for Dan and I this was certainly the case and we could not have been more different in our coping mechanisms. I had grieved before; I had lost all my grandparents and so I was possibly more prepared to deal with a loss and understood that although it is extremely tragic and horrendous, with time you do begin to heal. Dan, however had never lost anyone before and therefore had never had to grieve, and so his first loss was that of his own child. Now even though I had experienced loss before grieving for a child is very different to grieving for someone who has led a full life and therefore that loss is much more “expected”
I have always liked to speak of Harry and what happened and our experiences, but Dan would always shut down on the mention of Harry’s name. This proved to be extremely difficult as we both battled to appreciate, and yet never quite understand each other’s reasonings for their way of grieving. How could two people go through the exact same grief and yet deal with this in such opposite ways.
Counselling helped Dan to understand that he needed to talk and try open up more because otherwise it would cause a “pressure cooker” effect and if he didn’t release a little bit of emotion he will explode with grief. It also helped me to realise that I didn’t let Dan get a word in when he did try to talk because I was too overwhelmed by my own feelings and savour in the fact that he finally wanted to talk!
Ultimately everyone is at risk of developing mental health struggles at some point in their life and the quicker you can identify the onset of this the quicker you can implement the support required to deal with this. Dan is the first to admit that he dealt with this on his own for far too long for many reasons, and if he had sourced appropriate support earlier on it would have massively benefited him.
For Charlie, having a disability puts him at a much higher risk of developing mental health problems mainly due to the high risk of social isolation from his peers. This again is why we are so determined to get Charlie as involved in our community and why an off-road wheelchair will be so beneficial to him.
Mental health is absolutely, 100%, categorically nothing to be ashamed of and I implore anyone and everyone to reach out, speak to friend, family member, online support, us, just anyone! You are not alone in your feelings, whatever those are. Stay safe, stay well and look after each other. xx